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deavour to diffuse the force of the attack, if one may say so, over the whole surface of the line attacked; so the remedy consisted in concentrating the force of the attack, and in bringing it to bear with proportionably greater energy on a single point, or a small portion of the enemy's line. For this purpose the admiral of the attacking and windward squadron is supposed to come down, not in a line, but with his feet in divisions, so as to be able to support the particular division destined to break through the line of the enemy. The consequence must be, that if this attack is directed against the rear of the enemy, the ships ahead must either abandon those that are cut off, or must double back either by tacking or wearing. Mr. Clerk shows, that if the enemy follow the first of these methods, and make his line either tack in succession or altogether, such a distance must be left between them and the three or four sternmost ships, that not only must these last be easily carried, but that several more must probably be thrown into such a situation, as to subject them almost unavoidably to the same fate. If the enemy attempt the same thing by wearing, his condition will be still worse. The feet by falling to leeward must not only desert the ships altogether, but must leave the stern. most of the wearing ships so much exposed, as to render it certain that they will be entirely cut off."
There can be no doubt that the system proposed and explained by Mr. Clerk was entitled to the full merit of originality.
In his work he has entered into a historical detail which tends to establish this point, and in which, from the most authentic documents, he traces the plans of most of our remarkable naval actions, from that of Admiral Matthews, off' Toulon, in 1744, to that of Admiral Greaves, off the Chesapeake, in 1781. In most of these actions we find, though conducted by some of our ablest naval officers, that the British fleet being to windward, and by extending the line of battle so as to destroy the whole of the enemy's line, which was of course, to leeward, was itself disabled, before the ships could reach a situation in which they could annoy their adversaries; while, on the other hand, the French perceiving the British ships in disorder, usually made sail, and after throwing in their whole fire, formed their line again to leeward, where they lay prepared for another attack, should their antagonists feel inclined to make it. In this way, campaign after campaign was frustrated, and baflled, and even defeated, that rare combination of skill and courage, which distinguishes the English seaman, and which was even then so conspicuous and successful in actions with single ships. The analysis and commentary which Mr. Clerk applies to these actions are very instructive to professional men, and form a scientific review of the naval history of Great Britain, which we should look for in vain in any of the treatises expressly written on that subject.
It was on the 12th of April, 1782, that the merits of Clerk's system were put to the trial and approved. The brave Rodney, who, like all able men, showed the utmost willingness to learn, even from a landsman, went to sea determined to avail himself of the new lights in his profession with which he had just been supplied. Before going out to take the command of the fleet in the West Indies, he said one day to Mr. Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, “ There is one Clerk, a countryman of yours, who has taught us how to fight, and appears to know more of the matter than any of us. If ever I meet the French fleet I intend to try his way." He did try it; and by his distinguished success set an example to succeeding admirals, which by bringing into full play the native strength and courage of British sailors, has swept from the ocean all the other navies of Europe, and secured for
our countrymen an ascendancy in nautical warfare, that no nation, ancient or modern, has ever possessed.
Dupin, whose work on the naval force of Great Britain, we noticed in our April number, has given a brief account of Rodney's victory, as the first application of Clerk's principles, and appreciated fully the value of the system which was thereby so powerfully recommended to our admirals.
“In the victory gained by Rodney over De Grasse,” says he, “the former hav. ing cut through the other's line in the centre, and our rear division having yielded to the combined attack of the enemy's whole fleet, the English doubled back upon that portion of the centre which our rear bad abandoned. Then the French admiral, with the ships around him, pressed by a superior force, and caught between two fires, were compelled to surrender. This was the most decisive battle since that of La Hogue.”
Trafalgar, we may add, as Dupin himself allows, was a still more direct and brilliant exemplification of the same method of attack: and wonderful as that action was in every respect, there is nothing connected with it so surprising, as the stupid adherence of the French commander to his antiquated tactics. Whilst the centre was involved in inevitable destruction, from the combined onset of the whole British fleet, the wings remained inactive and immoveable. Ces ailes sont en ligne, et cela leur suffit : elles attendeni donc avec une effrayante impassibilité que leur contre soit detruit; il l'est enfin. Alors oubliant leur pieux respect pour l'ordre sacré de la ligne, ellis ne songent plus qu'à la retruite.
That Lord Nelson did not disdain to study the work of a mere theorist, when completing his professional accomplishments, and even in arranging his plan of battle, is evident from the circumstance, mentioned here by Mr. Playfair, that in the very body of the instructions issued by his Lordship before the conflict at Trafalgar, there are several sentences entirely taken from the Naval Tactics. These instructions were transmitted to Mr. Clerk by Sir Philip Durham, one of the commanders in that memorable action, accompanied with the following note, which shows in what light his improvements were regarded by those who were the best able to decide upon their merits.
“ Captain Durham, sensible of the many advantages which have accrued to the British nation, from the publication of Mr. Clerk's Naval Tactics, and particularly from that part of them which recommends breaking through the enemy's line, begs to offer him the enclosed form of battle, which was most punctually attended to in the brilliant and glorious action of the 21st of October. "Mr. Clerk will perceive with pleasure, that it is completely according to his own notions, and it is now sent as a token of respect from Captain Durham to one who has merited so highly of his country. H. M. S. off Cadiz, 29th of October, 1805."
Mr. Playfair informs us that he had before him, whilst writing his remarks, a copy of the first part of the Naval Tactics, with notes on the margin by Lord Rodney himself, which had been communicated by the admiral to the late General Clerk, by whom it was deposited in the family library at Penicuich. These notes, it is said, are full of remarks on the justness of Mr. Clerk's views, and on the instances wherein his own conduct had been in strict conformity with those views. Rodney, (at that time Sir George) even condescends to answer some questions which Mr. Clerk had put in regard to the action off Martinique in the year 1780. The first signal of the Admi
ral on that occasion was to attack the enemy's rear with the whoe fleet. But the French perceiving this design, wore their ships and formed on the opposite tack; a movement which rendered it impossible to obey the first order, and the next that Rodney made was for every ship to attack her opposite. Mr. Clerk's question in return to these manœuvres was, why did Sir George change his resolution of attacking the rear, and order an attack on the whole line? Sir George answers to this, that he did not change his intention, but that his fleet disobeyed his signal, and forced him to abandon his plan.
“ An anecdote which sets a seal on the great and decisive testimony of the noble Admiral, is worthy of being remembered ; and I am glad to be able to record it on the authority of a noble earl. The present Lord Haddington met Lord Rodney at Spa, in the decline of life, when both his bodily and his mental powers were sink. ing under the weight of years. The great commander who had been the bulwark of his country and the terror of her enemies, lay stretched on his couch, while the memory of his own exploits seemed the only thing that interested his feelings, or afforded a subject for conversation. In this situation he would often break out in praise of the Naval Tactics; exclaiming with great earnestness, John Clerk of Eldin for ever! Generosity and candour seemed to have been such constituent elements in the mind of this gallant Admiral, that they were among the parts which longest resisted the influence of decay.”
Mr. Playfair concludes his sketch with an expression of regret that no token of public gratitude has yet been conferred on the memory of Mr. Clerk. He is disposed to ascribe this omission to the fear of giving offence to the navy, and to consider it rather as resulting from an excess of caution than from direct or intentional neglect. It might seem to derogate from the glory of our naval officers to recognise a landsman as the author of one of the most valuable discoveries that bad been made in their own art—as the person who had not only pointed out the new principle, but had completely unfolded its advantages and predicted its effects. But, continues he, to whatever cause the neglect of which I now complain is to be attributed, it is certain that the government and the navy have both lost a great opportunity of doing honour to themselves. A national monument that would have marked the era of this great improvement, and testified the gratitude of the nation to the author, would have been very creditable to the minister under whose patronage it was erected; and an acknowledgment from the navy that this discovery was the work of a landsman would have been highly becoming in a profession, of which intrepidity and valour are not more characteristic than frankness and generosity.
FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.
The Speeches of the Right Honourable Henry Grattan, in the Irish,
and in the Imperial Parliament. Edited by his Son. 4 vols. 8vo. 21. 8s. Boards. Longman & Co. 1822.
Who that cherishes or venerates the “sanctus amor patriæ,” who that feels or does homage to great powers of eloquence exerted in the worthiest of causes, or who that has ever commiserated the sufferings of our sister-island, and has appreciated the efforts of her advocates and the glories of her ornaments, can fail to be interested in the name of GRATTAN, and thankful for the memorials of his career? They must
all applaud the diligence and the pious affection of his son, who has here collected and presented to them the speeches of his illustrious parent, accompanied by a short biographical' memoir. Long, indeed, has this gentleman occupied a considerable space in the public attention; and his vast talents and unintermitted labours entitle him to a high rank among those ose lives have been honourable and beneficial to mankind. The recorded services of such men are the most unperishable monuments that can be raised to their honour by the gratitude of their survivors.
Henry Grattan was born in 1746 at Dublin, for which city his father was a representative. He was educated at that University, but in 1767 entered as a student of the Middle Temple; and, while prosecuting his studies there, he frequently attended the debates in the British parliament. He is said to have been peculiarly struck with the masculine vigour of Lord Chatham's eloquence; and those who amuse themselves with fanciful analogies have imagined a sort of affinity between the style and character of these great speakers. He certainly was, however, peculiarly studious of that shining orator; he frequently took down in writing entire speeches as they were pronounced, and there is now extant, in the band writing of Mr. Grattan, a speech of this celebrated statesman which is not to be found in any printed collection. Among the contemporaries with whom Mr. G. set out in life, were Mr. Macaulay Boyd, (one of the supposed authors of Junius,) and Mr., afterward Judge Day; for the latter of whom he entertained an affection which
years, and was extinguished only with his death.
In 1772, Mr. Grattan was called to the Irish bar; and he was then living in familiar intercourse with the many distinguished individuals who formed the gay, the polished, and the intellectual circle of his native metropolis. Among these were Mr. Parker Bushe, Mr. Flood, Sir Hercules Langrishe, and Dr. Marlay, afterward Bishop of Waterford ; and, in concert with Mr. Flood, he wrote several jeux d'esprit in ridicule of Lord Townsend's bon vivant administration, which were inserted in a collection called Baratariana. The friendship, however, which was nearest to bis heart, the purest satisfaction of his life, and afterward the subject of its most tender and pleasing recollections, was that of the accomplished Lord Charlemont. It was at the house of this nobleman that the patriotic band who delivered Ireland were wont to assemble; and it was through his influence that, in 1775, Mr. Grattan was returned to parliament for the town of Charlemont. In 1790, he was elected for the city of Dublin : in 1800, he was chosen for Wicklow; to oppose the Union: in 1805, he came into the Imperial parliament for Malton; and in 1806 he was re-elected for his native city, and sat for that place in the several parliaments summoned in 1807, 1813, 1818, and 1820. On the accession of his present majesty, he came over to take his seat, contrary to the advice of his physicians and the remonstrances of his friends, his health being then in an alarming state. The project which filled his soul and animated its expiring efforts was the Catholic question : but he had tasked his strength beyond his powers of physical endurance. As he could not bear a journey by land, he went by water from Liverpool to London in a canai-barge, emptied of its lumber, and hung round with garden-mats. In this manner, for six days, he sat up in a chair without moving, sustained
by his anxiety to bear with his last breath his testimony to the holy cause of religious tolerance, and to perform his last duty to his country. After much suffering, however, he expired a few days subsequently to his arrival in London, on the 4th of June, 1820; thus finishing, by a species of political martyrdom, a patriotic and honourable course of public service.
His private life well corresponded with the purity of his public conduct; and an interesting simplicity was manifested in his character, not unlike that which was the charm and ornament of the domestic retirement of Mr. Fox. He loved to “ forget the statesman in the friend.” On the subjects that accidentally arise in social converse, philosophy, poetry, and politics, he was equally pleasing and instructive; every topic being illumined with the bright though softened rays of that powerful intellect, which was alike capable of elucidating the most perplexed and adorning the simplest matters on which it touched. When playful, he delighted the young; and when grave, even age itself was improved by his experience. His private conversations were replete with the purest morality, for he was never the momentary apologist of vice or profligacy, An instinctive innate horror of every thing low or corrupt, a religious devotion to public and private principle, from a rooted conviction that both were inseparably entwined together in their ethical relations, and a contempt for money, (the surest indication of a lively sensibility to the wants and sufferings of others,) were the chief outlines of his domestic character and habits. “ His life,” says his son, “was one continued, gentle, moral lesson. It was impossible in his society not to become enamoured of virtue."
Thus lived and thus died a man whom every age does not witness. Never was an individual exposed to the stormy elements of political strife, who experienced more of the proverbial levity of the people;of that people whose political and moral depression he deplored, and devoted his whole life to ameliorate. He was the object of their fondest idolatry on one day ;-in the next, rejected and despised. In 1798, he was denounced as the enemy to his country ;-afterward, he was deified as the strenuous assertor of the constitution ;-again he was traduced as the betrayer of the civil liberties of Ireland;-in 1812, he was elected by the unanimous voice of the people ;—and in 1818 he was almost stoned to death in the midst of his native city.
For the honour of England, never insensible to native or to foreigu worth, his death was universally mourned, and the sighs of the great and the good were mingled over his grave. Every individual, from the highest to the lowest, seemed to feel as if he had been deprived of a friend and a father; the interest of the sad solemnities was deepened by the unostentatious attendance at his funeral of all who were elevated in rank or ennobled by talent; and the warmest of his political opponents joined in the procession as if solicitous to bury in his tomb the passing animosities and contentions of the hour. The spot of earth dedicated to his mortal remains adjoined that which encloses the ashes of Pitt and of Fox.
* Atqui hæc sunt indicia solida et expressa ; hæc signa probitatis, non fucata forensi specie, sed domesticis inusta notis veritatis.” Cic. Orat. pro Plancio.
Concerning the character of Mr. Grattan's eloquence, a greater variety of opinion may be fairly indulged, than the uniform and consenting feelings of mankind will suffer us to entertain of the manly